Letting Duke Go – The Story Of My 2016 KTM 390 Duke

>>meet duke.

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Duke is a 2016 KTM 390 Duke with a 373cc single pounding out 44hp and 26 ft/lbs of torque.

Duke and I first met Thursday, July 28th, 2016 in Cambridge, Minnesota. Having done a lot of research on motorcycles the weeks prior, it was a no-brainer. I wanted the KTM 390 Duke. I browsed around dealership websites to find the exact one. KTM Orange on White. The search ended Wednesday, July 27th when I found the perfect one at Larson’s Cycle – Cambridge, Minnesota. Called them up and setup an appointment to meet Duke.

Gosh, you should’ve seen the look on my face when I saw Duke sitting on the showfloor right in front of the desks. Looking at me with excited eyes, practically shouting “Ooh! Ooh! Take me! I want you!” like an overly excited puppy. I was absolutely starstruck. My heart jumped, it literally started to race. One sit, and that was it. Hook, line and sinker. My heart said “you are the one.”


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Boy, have we had our adventures! From getting Duke in July up until winter, I clocked over 6,000 miles on Duke — and every single one of those miles was absolute MAGIC.

From multi-state group riding sessions, to late-night cruises to clear my head, Duke has been with me, stunningly loyal the whole entire time. Not a single issue to be had. Much like my Mazda, Duke has been a very loyal chariot in my darkest times, and I cannot thank Duke enough for being there for me, every step of the way.

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I’ve spent literally hundreds of dollars, showering Duke with gifts, it’s almost not even funny. Griot’s Garage Spray-On Wax, Motorex motor oils and chain cleaning & lubing supplies, genuine KTM rear bike stand, front and rear sliders, and bike cover, a KTM_PowerSports Ergo Seat, and even a genuine KTM Anti-Theft Alarm with Shock Sensor!

Duke was my child, and forever will be.

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Everyday I opened the garage and disarmed Duke, it was a dream come true. Ready for the world ahead. Nothing can stop us. Hell, even the Mazda was feeling jealous, I’m sure!

There’s a saying amongst motorcyclists… “Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul.”

How true that was. Every bit of that statement is so true. The love and passion between cars and motorcycles for me is a very different thing. In a car, you’re surrounded by windows and a lot of steel. A safety cage if you would. Then there’s a motorcycle. Wide open with all the headroom in the world. You feel the elements, you become the corner. You are the motorcycle. It’s a feeling that is very difficult to portray using just words. You must first ride a motorcycle to truly understand what I’m trying to say, and honestly, it doesn’t even need words. You will know exactly what I am saying, exactly what I am feeling the very moment you ride your first motorcycle.

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Then financial instability struck. February 2017 there was a judgement against me in the amount of about $4,000 and that my paychecks will be garnished at 25% of my take-home pay. Perfect timing as I was gearing up to do another season of riding in my new apartment I leased with my now-ex.

Barely scraped by with what little money I had. Barely being able to pay rent, pay utilities, car and motorcycle payments and insurance it was quickly stacking up. I can have everything I already have, but not eat, or I will have to sacrifice on something to make it work.

Luckily I was able to scrape by until I voluntarily moved out of the apartment in June to get away from my abusive, controlling, lying and cheating ex. I left Duke at the apartments for a few weeks trying to gather myself and smaller belongings. Then my vacation time came along. I came back to the apartment to find Duke where I had left had been vandalized by my ex. Asked upon my good friends Ryan and Tiff to pick Duke up while I was making my way to California by car, in which they pulled through and I cannot thank enough.

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As an unfortunate result of the vandalism and being stored at Ryan and Tiff’s place, I didn’t ride Duke all summer long. Until now.

A friend of mine is interested in acquiring Duke and I agreed. He wanted to test ride Duke and see how Duke felt to him. And that’s why I have Duke out of storage today with me at The Reserve.

As I type, I’m waiting for my friend to pop up and take Duke for a ride. Honestly right now I’m about to burst into tears.

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You see, I, for whatever reason, didn’t feel bad for not riding Duke all summer long. It wasn’t until the 11th hour is when I’m starting to reflect on all the things we’ve done, the feelings felt, the moments and memories made. And it genuinely breaks my heart that Duke might be leaving me to go to another loving owner, to be enjoyed like Duke was. It also gives me great solace that Duke will be enjoyed by another motorcycling enthusiast that will for sure take care and enjoy the moments of pure magic.

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Duke, Papa loves you very much. Almost too much to bear.

 

I’m literally going to cry now.

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